March 17, 2014: Haben Sie gehört das Deutsche Bahn

For those of you unfamiliar with the Producers, here is the song I was referencing there.  Yes, I know it’s supposed to be Band, but for those of you also unaware, the Deutsche Bahn is the train company over here.  Yeah, I need to stop making jokes I have to explain.  Anyway, the Deutsche Bahn will come into play a bit later on, but first what I did leading up to last weekend!

I suppose the most interesting occurrence would have to be me getting run over by a bike last Tuesday.  It’s not entirely my fault, but I was admittedly mostly to blame.  You see, what happened was I was riding my bike to juggling, which was around 8 o’clock at night.  It was already dark and I had decided to go alone and in my usual way I was probably not paying attention like I should have been.  Sometimes I just get so focused on what I’m doing I get a sort of tunnel vision.  Well I needed to make a left turn into E-werk and there were about three or four cars coming from the other direction.  I started to slow down to wait for them to pass and eventually came to almost a complete stop waiting.  Once they had passed, I decided to go for it, failing to notice the other cyclist who was trying to pass me.  So I turned right into him, falling off my bike and hitting the street.  He was fine and didn’t fall or anything, but I just sort of laid there in a daze for a second wondering what just happened before I got up.  Luckily he was just on a bike (and not a car) and also not going very fast, so I just had a couple of scratches.  But I really need to pay attention to the world around me.  I can’t tell you how many friends I have inadvertently ignored because I didn’t see or hear them trying to get my attention.  I usually only find out a couple days later when they bring it up in conversation some how.  I’m not sure why I am so spaced out most of the time… oh well.

That was probably the most interesting story of last week though.  I did meet with some of my friends, most notably on Tuesday when I had lunch with Arielle at a nearby Turkish restaurant.  It was positively amazing!  I wish I could remember the name, but I wasn’t paying that much attention at the time.  However, the chicken that we got was so juicy and tender it practically melted in your mouth.  It made me realize that I really need to go out of my way to eat Turkish food more often.  I haven’t really had any outside of Dönner since my trip to Vienna, where we had some at a Turkish mosque which was to die for.  So the moral of that story is that I will definitely have to go back to this restaurant before I leave.

I also met with some friends on Friday because sadly, some of them are about to leave.  In fact, one just left today.  So the original plan was for everyone to go visit Neuschwanstein, but unfortunately due to some complications in our traveling plans, we had to cancel that last minute.  We did, however, manage to meet for some ice cream that afternoon.  It was a really nice place and I’m sure the food was delicious, but sadly I was still really full from a giant breakfast to really eat anything.  But I did look at the ice cream menu, which was several pages long and included things like ice cream spaghetti.  It looked pretty interesting, but the trade off is that it was pretty expensive.

Afterwards I headed to the train station with one of my friends to go to Munich together.  Well, really just split a train ticket seeing as we both had different plans for once we arrived in the city.  But it was really nice to have company on the train ride, which is a bit over 2 hours.  And while I am still American enough to think that isn’t a very long ride, it is nice to spend that time in good company.  Once there we went our separate ways and I met up with Eva, who studied at my university back home with me last year.  We ended up not doing too much that evening since I was tired from the journey and she had worked all day.  She did cook me a rather nice dinner followed by some wine.  Then she told me about all of her travels in America after she graduated.  Some of the places she went looked/sounded amazing!  It really made me want to see more of my own country.  It’s a bit sad how little I have actually seen of the states.

That next morning we got up somewhat early (9ish for those really concerned) and had a nice breakfast together.  We headed out around 11 or so and first went to the Olympic Park in which Munich hosted the 1972 Oympics.  Now the entire two weeks prior to my visit the weather had been absolutely lovely.  However on the day I decided to travel and do some sight seeing the weather decided to be somewhat uncooperative.  It wasn’t terrible, but it was cloudy and kind of cool and the wind was a beast.  There was always an ever looming threat of rain as well, but luckily we never got more than a few sprinkles here and there.  So we decided to see what we could of the park without really getting wind swept.  This included the soccer/track stadium, which actually looks pretty awesome.  There are some pretty awesome tours where you can walk around the roof and even repel down inside the stadium, but considering how windy it was, we decided we had better wait until next time.  We also took a look at the Walk of “Fame” (Eva’s emphasis, not mine).  Essentially anyone relatively famous who comes to Munich is asked to make a hand print in the side walk and sign their names.  There were some pretty cool people there though, mainly being Sir Elton John and Roger Waters.  Unfortunately the city doesn’t really seem to tend to them so some were a bit rough around the edges.

 

Eva and I in the Olympic Stadium

Eva and I in the Olympic Stadium

 

Roger Waters

Roger Waters

 

So since the weather wasn’t super nice we decided to bypass the more nature/park oriented scene of Munich and look at the downtown area.  So we saw a number of things which I will try to remember, but sadly if I don’t write names and such down I won’t be able to remember them so well.  It doesn’t help that I’m writing this about a week later.  We saw the “Walking Man” which is a huge statue of a white man walking, which is supposed to symbolize moving forward.  No the color of the statue is not lost on me, but I really don’t want to get into that debate.  Then we walked further into the bowels of the city and saw the Ludwig Maximilian University where most notably, there was a student opposition to Hitler in 1943.  The group the White Rose made and distributed fliers against the Reich, which ultimately led to their arrest and their subsequent execution.  If you don’t know anything about it, there is apparently a movie about it, which I haven’t watched but I am definitely planning on it, called Sophie Scholl–The Final Days.

 

Ludwig Maximilian University

Ludwig Maximilian University

 

After looking around the small museum for a bit we decided to pop into some nearby churches.  Of course they weren’t all packed in together, but I might as well talk about them all at once.  The first was the rather large Ludwigskirche which was a neo-romanesque style church built in the early 1800s.  It was nice but nothing really stood out once we were inside the church.  The second was Theatine Church which was a baroque church built in the 1600s.  This one would have to be my favorite of the day.  Upon walking inside you are surrounded by beautiful white carvings which led to a dome close to the altar.  The third was one of the tackiest churches I think I have ever seen: Asamkirche (late baroque).  Apparently it was originally built as a private church but was later forced to be open for the public.  I think that is sort of how it got most of its… character is not the right word but it’s the first word to come to mind.  It sort of looks like a bunch of old hoarders got together and decided to cram their entire collection of cats into one of their small basements.  Only replace cats with religious art with only the gaudiest amount of gold allowed.  It was just way too much to pack into such a small space with only a limited amount of windows to boot.  My pictures sadly can’t do it justice.

 

Theatine Church

Theatine Church

 

Asamkirche

Asamkirche

 

Somewhere in between the churches I also saw the “Wunden der Erinnerung” (the wounds of the memories) which is a preserved patch of walls where you could see the damage left by gunshots as the Nazi’s executed people on the streets.  It was rather chilling reminder of Germany’s not so brilliant past.  It was also amazing to see just what kind of damage these gunshots did to the wall.  The craters were much larger than I would have thought.  On a much brighter note, we also visited Milka World.  For those of you unfamiliar with Milka, it is a brand of Swiss chocolate, which is also available in the U.S., so go try some because it’s much better than a Hershey’s bar anyway.  There you could find everything from chocolate, the Milka dirndls, to Milka skis along with any necessary skiing equipment.  It was pretty fun, but I’m still kicking myself a little for not getting any chocolate while there considering it was much cheaper than it usually is in stores.  I also saw the city hall, the opera house, and several different gates.  Like most old German cities, Munich, too, was surrounded by a city wall, which is no longer there but there are still several gates around for everyone to see.  Oh, and we also saw two very right leaning protests, one of which was being protected by the police as they shouted Neo-Nazi garbage to passersby.

 

Die "Wunden der Erinnerung"

Die “Wunden der Erinnerung”

 

Milka Welt

Milka Welt

 

At some point we finally stopped at a small cafe and got a light lunch, since neither of us were terribly hungry after such a large breakfast and I wasn’t particularly keen on breaking the bank for lunch.  We had some pumpkin soup, which was quite good, but not really the same as other pumpkin soups I’ve had in the past.  It was a bit less pumpkin flavored than I would have liked.  I guess what I really mean is they didn’t quite take advantage at the whole host of spices out there which really serve to enhance the flavor of pumpkin.  Oh well, it was nice to get to have lunch with a good friend.  After walking around for the entire afternoon we were both feeling a bit tired.  So we went to the store and I got some provisions for the train and then caught the next one heading back to ol’ Erlangen.  It was a pretty nice, although short, trip to Munich.  I am definitely planning on going again when the weather is nicer so I can see all of the wonderful outdoor things Munich has to offer.

As far as the rest of the weekend, I was mostly pretty lazy.  I was originally going to a birthday celebration of a friend that night (which is why I didn’t stay in Munich until Sunday) but a bit of bad luck got in the way of that.  I wish I could have dropped by and said hello at least, but oh well.  As far as this weekend I don’t really know what I am going to do.  I am feeling a bit restless, but I also need to save my money for another trip.  We will see, but the next post may not be an extremely exciting one.  Until then!

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